Black Miami doctor cuffed outside his home was justified, review concludes

Sgt. Mario Menegazzo, the officer in question, has been investigated in the past for 13 different 'use-of-force' incidents

Just last March, Dr. Armen Henderson was profiled for his work within the Miami homeless community. He was celebrated for testing them for coronavirus during the height of the pandemic.

According to the Miami Herald, Henderson convened a group of community volunteers to “feed, educate, shelter, and test the homeless as much as they could.”

Henderson told the group, “I feel this is essential to protecting the public’s health.”

READ MORE: Video shows Miami doctor, lauded for coronavirus tests for homeless, handcuffed by police

Weeks later, the doctor was in the news again. This time for being handcuffed outside his home by a Miami police officer.

Henderson was allegedly unloading old boxes outside of his van for curbside pick up when an officer stopped him saying that he had received complaints of illegal dumping. 

“He said ‘you should refer to me as sir, or sergeant when talking to me.’ I never said I was a doctor.” Henderson told the Herald, “But I didn’t cuss. He just grabbed my arms and cuffed me.” His wife, Leila Hussein, came outside with his identification and the officer let him go. 

The incident was investigated by the Miami Police Department, who recently concluded that Henderson’s detainment was justified. 

According to the Herald, Sgt. Mario Menegazzo was investigated for “for improper procedure for placing Henderson in handcuffs without cause; discourtesy for yelling at Henderson and pointing in his face; improper procedure for failing to wear a protective face mask during the pandemic; and improper procedure again for failing to alert dispatch that he had conducted an investigative stop.” 

The article quoted an MPD memo that stated, “Menegazzo released Henderson and explained to him the entire situation could have been resolved if he had just provided his information.” 

While the cuffing of the doctor was found justified, the other three allegations against the officer, yelling at Henderson, not wearing a face mask, and not calling dispatch — were found valid and that he violated departmental policies.

READ MORE: Cop tried to taser Ahmaud Arbery during 2017 encounter in video

MPD has not stated whether Menegazzo will face reprimand for those improprieties. 

In researching the case, the Miami New Times found that Sgt. Menegazzo has a history of citizen complaints.  Since 2012, he has had eight citizen complaints filed against him and been investigated for 13 use-of-force incidents.